I’m throwing a party in space. Can you help me PLANet? *ba dum tss* All jokes aside, space truly is a fun unit to plan for students. It seems like no matter how old you are, space is interesting and exciting. This is great news as a teacher because it means we can harness the energy and engagement that space naturally brings and plan some really exciting space lesson plans.
In this blog, I am going to walk you through how to plan the ultimate space unit and share some activity ideas that will not only engage your students, but help them retain the content.
How do I place a space unit for my elementary students?
The best way to plan any unit is to create a picture for where you are headed. In education, we often call this the scope and sequence. When planning the scope of your unit, you will begin by thinking about the end result – the content students will understand by the end of the unit and the assessment they will take.
To plan this scope and sequence, take out your planner or calendar. Begin by marking on your calendar the ideal start date of your space unit. Then, determine how long you want this unit to be. Mark your ideal end date. The end date of this unit will be when you assess students’ knowledge of the space content.
Now that you have a timeline, you want to create a rough plan of how you will move through this unit. Mark down a general topic or standard you want to cover each day during the unit. This can be very brief and general. You can (and likely will) make adjustments as you move through your unit, but this outline helps you scaffold skills and stay on track.
Don’t want to plan out your own scope and sequence? Check out this space unit resource. This resource has a space unit scope and sequence, lesson plans, notes, powerpoints, and additional resources.
What activities will help my students learn about space?
1. Make it Cross Curricular
If you ever feel pressured to fit in all the necessary content, then putting two content areas together may be a great solution! An easy way to learn about space is through reading. Have students read information articles about different planets or the phases of the moon. Then, students can practice ELA skills such as summarization, main idea, and text features while also studying science.
Want a ready-to-go read aloud unit involving space? Check out my read aloud guide to Lost in Outer Space: The Incredible Guide to Apollo 13.
2. Utilize Centers and Rotations
I am always a fan of centers because it’s a great way for students to work on skills independently, gain formative assessment, and spiraling content for consistent practice. The best way to run these rotations is to make it digital. This allows you to get instant feedback on students progress and abilities, and spend less time printing papers – and more time planning amazing things.
Interested in digital station activities? These digital space centers cover topics like planet facts, galaxies, comets, phases of the moon, and more. Best part – they are ready to be uploaded to your digital learning space.
3. Add a Hands-On Project to your Space Lesson Plans
There are many opportunities in a space unit to have hand-on projects, such as the classic 3D solar system models. As we talked about earlier in the blog, space is naturally interesting and engaging, so through hands-on projects we can harness this engagement. One of my favorite projects during a space unit is to create a 3D Cube. Each side of the cube has notes about different space elements, such as facts about the sun or order of the planets. This is an easy project that is useful for students, and makes for great (useful) classroom decor!
Want to create a 3D Space Cube with your students? Grab the hands-on project here!
Want to check out Science Choice Boards? This blog post will help guide you by adding some space actvities into your lesson plans!